TLF, UNICEF sensitised Nungua against Covid-19 hesitancy and misinformation
Krowor Municipal Health Promoter of Ghana Health Service Madam Nimatu Issah has called on Nungua residents within Krowor Municipality to scale up trust and willingness towards Covid-19 vaccine uptake to complement government’s efforts to contain, combat Covid-19 hesitancy and prevent spread of infectious pandemic. According to her, apart from persons of 60 years and above, frontline health workers, government functionaries, persons with underlying health conditions, attention of communities ought to be given to trust enhancing triggers and strategic communication approaches must be used to remove triggers of Covid-19 mistrust and hesitancy.
Globally, the vast majority of people who are unvaccinated against Covid-19 live in Lower Middle Income Countries (LMIC), particularly within sub-Saharan Africa. This includes Ghana, where only 14.4% of the population is considered fully vaccinated as of March 2022. A key factor negatively impacting vaccination campaigns is vaccine hesitancy, defined as the delay in the acceptance, or total refusal of vaccines.
Speaking at Nungua Zongo within the Krowor Municipal Assembly under Religious Leaders Support for Lead poisoning, yellow fever, and Covid-19 Vaccines confidence programme by The Light Foundation (TLF) in partnership with UNICEF in Accra-Ghana on Saturday 26 March 2022, the Health Expert Madam Nimatu Issah said ” Those who have underlying health conditions can easily die if they contract Covid-19 disease. That’s why we’re encouraging all of you to gather courage and go for the Covid-19 vaccination including both those who are unvaccinated and persons who had taken only one dose. Headache, fever, coughing, soar throat, difficulty in breathing, getting tired at ease are symptoms of Covid-19 and if you notices these symptoms, don’t stay home unconcerned, quickly rush to hospital for Covid-19 test for immediate treatment before it rises to high risk levels and unmanageable proportions “.
Madam Nimatu Issah noted that “Aside vaccination, other preventive measures such as wearing of nose masks, washing your hands under running water, social distancing, use of sanitiser and other Covid-19 safety protocols are very important and must be strictly adhered to ensure safety. Let’s go for the Covid-19 vaccination, once you are 15 years and above, AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson. You’ll need to present your Ghana card at the hospital to access vaccination but if you’ve already taken one dose, simply submit your Vaccination card to take the second dose or even third dose”.
“For yellow fever, if mosquito bites infected person and bites another person, it can be transmitted to a third-party, you’ll begin to get tired at ease. If you discover symptoms of yellow fever, simply rush to hospital for tests and you’ll be given specific prescription to cure it, don’t stay home. The danger is that if you stay home, yellow fever conditions will get worse. Let’s try and be available for the mosquitoes nets distribution to prevent yellow fever, and avoid stagnant water that is the breeding ground for mosquitoes”, Madam Nimatu Issah advised.
For her part, Letitia Abra-Kom Nyaaba of
Ghana National Cleaner Production Centre of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants Ghanaians to avoid polution of the environment.
Contributing to the debate , Nungua Zongo Chief Imam Ismael urged residents to “rely on knowledge acquired during the community engagement to improve their health conditions and health outcomes”.
Meanwhile, Apostle Nana Kwesi Danso of Atmosphere of Revival Network has appealed to TLF and UNICEF to ” extend the sensitization programme to individual households and communities, find ways to educate people individually so that many people can benefit. It’s necessary to listen to the Health Facilitator on the issue of scraps, causing lead poisoning, which very harmful to lives. It’s important that we individual households to interact with them on the topics. If one person is burning substances, it will negatively affect the whole community, so let’s spread the information. Thank you for this programme, The Light Foundation”.
13.1m doses of Covid-19 vaccines administered as of March 27, 2022
13.1million vaccine doses have been administered so far as part of efforts to get rid off the coronavirus from the country as of Sunday March 27, 2022. Apart from that, a total of 29million doses of vaccines have arrived in Ghana to meet the target of vaccinating 20million Ghanaians.
The Light Foundation, a humanitarian organization, has been on the forefront of tackling head-on health, sanitation issues, working to find lasting remedy to emerging problems facing humanity. Addressing participants at Nungua, a Staff of The Light Foundation, Imam Yusif urged persons who are yet to be inoculated to take the vaccines. “I urge you to take it,” he said whilst assuring that the vaccines are safe.
Covid-19 hesitancy in Ghana
Three online cross-sectional surveys of Ghanaian citizens were conducted in August 2020 (N = 3048), March 2021 (N = 1558), and June 2021 (N = 1295) to observe temporal trends of vaccine hesitancy in Ghana, and to examine key groups and predictors associated with hesitancy.
Quantitative measurements of hesitancy and participants’ subjective reasons for hesitancy were assessed, including predictors such as misinformation beliefs, political allegiance, and demographic and socioeconomic factors. Descriptive statistics were employed to analyse temporal trends in hesitancy between surveys, and logistic regression analyses were conducted to observe key predictors of hesitancy.
Findings revealed that overall hesitancy decreased from 36.8% (95% CI: 35.1%-38.5%) in August 2020 to 17.2% (95% CI: 15.3%-19.1%) in March 2021. However, hesitancy increased to 23.8% (95% CI: 21.5%-26.1%) in June 2021. Key reasons for refusing the vaccine in June 2021 included not having enough vaccine-related information (50.6%) and concerns over vaccine safety (32.0%).
Groups most likely to express hesitancy included Christians, urban residents, opposition political party voters, people with more years of education, females, people who received COVID-19 information from internet sources, and people who expressed uncertainty about their beliefs in common COVID-19 misinformation. Groups with increased willingness to vaccinate included elected political party voters and people who reported receiving information about COVID-19 from the Ghana Health Service. This study provides knowledge on Ghanaian population confidence and concerns about COVID-19 immunisations, and can support development of locally-tailored health promotion strategies.
While high-income settings have achieved relatively high coverage with their COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, as of 1 March 2022 almost 40% of the world’s population are yet to receive a single dose of any COVID-19 vaccine. The vast majority of unvaccinated people reside in low- and lower-middle income countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This includes Ghana, a country in West Africa with an estimated population of 30.8 million people. Ghana has reported over 159,000 cases and 1442 deaths, and currently only 14.4% of the country is considered fully vaccinated. With the recent emergence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, large-scale vaccination coverage is fundamental to the national and global pandemic response.
Such is the extent of vaccine inequity, sub-Saharan Africa has received far too few vaccinations across the first year of availability. Three common factors that impact the success of vaccination campaigns include supply and demand issues, social mobilization and logistical issues (challenges often related to underfunded health programmes), and people’s [lack of] willingness to be vaccinated once doses arrive in communities.
Vaccine hesitancy is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the delay in the acceptance, or blunt refusal of, vaccines. Hesitancy was described by the WHO as one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019, and has been identified as a growing trend in South Saharan Africa more generally. Developing a deeper understanding of the factors associated with vaccine hesitancy is crucial toward informing locally-tailored health promotion strategies. Hesitancy in South Saharan Africa has previously been associated with mistrust, particularly of government messaging, and the presence of misinformation.
Source : africaneditors.com